Food Network Magazine recently hit the road in search of the best 50 burgers in the nation -- one for every state. This is the one it picked in Indiana, the "Lugar Burger," of all things, from Bloomington:
Senator Richard Lugar has served this espresso-chili-rubbed bison burger on Capitol Hill to show off his state's lean, grass-fed buffalo meat. The burger comes on an "everything" bun with artisanal cheese and peppered bacon. The meat is from a ranch 10 miles away.
An "espresso-chili-rubbed bison burger" with an "everything" bun with artisanal cheese and peppered bacon? Good grief. That sounds positivily un-American, and it should be an embarrassment to all Hoosiers. I happen to like bison meat -- a buffalo strip steak was of the most flavorful pieces of meat I ever had -- but if we're doing "best" burgers, they have to be beef, and no fancy-schmancy cheese, either, just good old American toppings like lettuce and onions and tomatoes. But check out all 50 burgers -- most of them suffer from a bad case of the snooties. Some are made from port or salmon, and one of the "5-star" ones features pecans. A couple seem worth trying -- there's the Big Jud of Boise, Idaho, a one-pound cheeseburger with a side of fries. And who could pass up the "Heart Attack on a Plate" from Mother's Federal Hill Grille in Baltimore?
The best burger I ever had was the cheeseburger at Redamak's in New Buffalo, Mich., just over the state line from Michigan City, Ind. Everybody thinks there is some secret ingredient (a little sausage mixed in with the ground beef, I thought), but the owners say no. The burgers are pan fried, then wrapped in wax paper. No lettuce and tomatoes are offered, but they aren't needed.